Monday, November 19, 2012

Veterans Virtual Tours ~ Marvin Wycoff

November 6, 2012 ~ Today was an exciting day. Why you might ask... Well today we embarked on the 2nd Veterans Virtual Tours! This is Technical Sergeant Marvin E. Wycoff. He was born to Barry & Morris Wycoff on August 22, 1923. He is a World War II veteran in the US Army Air Core and was a radio operator/gunner. He served in our military for 33 months, from January 1943 to October 1945 and was discharged because the war was over.

Technical Sergeant Wycoff flew on the B-24 bomber seen over his left shoulder. It was a massive machine with 4 engines turning out 1200 hp per engine. Marvin was on the 43rd mission with 11 parachuters (which was one man too many but they sent a photographer with them on this mission) were shot down in France in German occupied territory. The French underground taught them how to survive for 6 weeks.
A letter was sent from the Fifteenth Air Force, N.J. Twining Major General USA to Mr. Morris A. Wycoff (his father)stating that his son's plane was forced out of formation and has not returned. Basically Marvin said they told him to expect the worse. Thankfully Marvin was alive and had the original letter in a scrapbook that one of his kids made along with other great things.

Many of you are probably wondering what a Veterans Virtual Tour is. Well it's very similar to the Honor Flights that take veterans to see their memorial in Washington, D.C except we do it via a Google+ hangout. As we all know we are loosing our veterans at a rapid rate and with the help from John Butterill & Bruce Garber they formed a company called Virtual Photo Walks ( to help people around the world see things they might never see. Sarah Hill is a huge asset to this as well as we all know she started using Google+ when she was on KOMU 8 for the news. Sarah now works for Veterans United here in Columbia, MO and is their Chief Storyteller reaching out to veterans all over the world. Since this is similar to the Honor Flight but a little different in the sense that our veterans never leave their homes, nursing homes or rehabilitation centers it seemed appropriate to name this venture "Veterans Virtual Tour". We (volunteers from all over) are the co-pilot and sit next to the veteran to take them on their journey around the world to see various memorials... not just the one in Washington, D.C. So just as you see in the picture we set everything up (Huge thank you to Ron & Dani from Veteran's United for saving me this morning with 4 minutes to spare!) and log onto Google+. We wait for the invite and enter the hangout when prompted.
This is truly amazing to be apart of. Many veterans won't talk or couldn't talk about their roles in the war. When you are sitting right next to them you have a sense of impact the war had on them.

It's hard not to get emotional when they do. I will never fully understand but I do have compassion for them. I genuinely cherish the moments I get to spend with those that fought for our country.  A very special thank you to Sarah, Scott and Barb located at Harry S.Truman's Veterans Hospital; Jimmy Gardner (cameraman) at the airport, WWII memorial in Washington, D.C. and the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in Arlington Cemetery; a cameraman at USS Alabama; Michael Tucker for showing us the Gold Coast in Australia.

Also to our volunteers serving as a co-pilot on this journey along with their veterans: Kenneth Holman with volunteer Chad LaFarge; Arlin Rhodes with volunteer Jacob Hess; Marvin Wycoff with myself as a volunteer and Sarah and the gang at Harry S. Truman Veterans Hospital with many veterans watching this. (If I forgot someone please let me know and I will add you/them in) We also had several people pop in and out of the hangout to say their thanks to these veterans.

Once our tour was complete it was time for Marvin to get his "mail call" from family and friends. (thank you Barb for arranging this) Thank you to Veteran's United for giving each veteran a book titled "Jewel of the Mall" which details information on their WWII memorial in Washington, D.C. and he also received a blanket for this tour. Also a huge thank you to Verizon for donating 3 MiFi's to help make sure we stayed connected to the internet. (often times when we travel to these veterans there is not wifi or strong cellular signals... these MiFi's ensure that we have a wifi connection during these tours which is a huge part of all of this working!)

If you click on the following link you can see a short video created from some of our tours with these veterans. It really makes you realize how important these guys (and gals) are to us. If they hadn't fought for our freedom we wouldn't be here today.

                                            This is a picture of Marvin while in the service.

He and his sweetheart, Marie, were "going out" in high school and stayed in touch by letter. When Marvin got out of high school he went to his father's farm in Jamestown, MO before going off to war. Marie & Marvin married in May 1953. They had 3 children Parry, Don & Sharon.


  1. Just let you know that Marvin passed away on May 9, 2013. He will always live in our hearts.


  2. What a wonderful way to tell these truly amazing veterans stories! Thank you so very much! Marvin was my husbands uncle and we all really love and miss him. There is a small error in the story: Marvins mother was Ida Perry Wycoff not Barry!